I guess what I'm getting at is that merely turning prospects into NHL players doesn't really advance the ball all that much. For all the crap that Volchenkhov and Salvador get, they are NHL players too. And even if they're not, there are always NHL players of "good enough" quality to be had. Hell, you could call Peter Harrold an NHL defenseman too. Basically, the Urboms and Gelinas of the world aren't going to lead you to the promsied land.
To get back to being a perennial Cup contending team, we'll need a few homeruns. On defense, Larsson needs to turn into what he was projected to be, and Merrill will have to exceed expectations. At forward, Matteau will need to be at least as dependable as Zubrus. And more importantly, whoever we pick this year needs to be a bona fide scorer or play maker, rather than a "nice" player of the Josefson mold. It's hard to overstate the importance of getting this pick right.
Understood, but even if these guys are only as good as what we got, they'll at least be cheaper for a while. I'd be fine with Volch if it didn't cost $4.25M on the cap.
I think you're greatly exaggerating our need for the prospects to turn out well though. Larsson not being what he was projected to be would suck, but he's not going to be awful either. No way he is anything less than a 3-4 d-man in a few years. Merril doesn't have to exceed expectations. Expectations are for him to be a top d-man and PP QB, if he's 1 of those 2 things, I'm happy. Then after that, if we can turn 1-2 more guys into a top 6 d-men, we're ok. We're thin up front, but that's something we'll probably have to address via FA in the near-term. I think Lou will be able to find the prospects he wants to keep vs ones he's willing to part with and can find us a trade or two in the next couple years to further bolster the offense.
I don't think this is terribly far-fetched. I also disagree that we need another play maker, we have Elias,Loktionov is supposed to be a pass first guy, JJ too, Zajac, we need scoring wingers, not playmakers. Henrique put up playmaker-esque stats last year, but I'm not convinced that's how he'll be the rest of his career, he's got a decent shot.
If anything would be a boon to this team would be turning Boucher into a top 6 winger. That's the kind of player we need, he may not be that guy, but if he was, it'd be a great help for sure.